Putin stands against the Western progressive vision of what mankind’s future ought to be. Years ago, he aligned himself with traditionalists, nationalists, and populists of the West, and against what they had come to despise in their own decadent civilization.
What they abhorred, Putin abhorred. He is a God-and-country Russian patriot. He rejects the New World Order established at the Cold War’s end by the United States. Putin puts Russia first.
.. And in defying the Americans he speaks for those millions of Europeans who wish to restore their national identities and recapture their lost sovereignty from the supranational European Union. Putin also stands against the progressive moral relativism of a Western elite that has cut its Christian roots to embrace secularism and hedonism.
.. what has Putin done to his domestic enemies to rival what our Arab ally Gen. Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi has done to the Muslim Brotherhood he overthrew in a military coup in Egypt?
.. What has Putin done to rival what our NATO ally President Erdogan has done in Turkey, jailing 40,000 people since last July’s coup—or our Philippine ally Rodrigo Duterte, who has presided over the extrajudicial killing of thousands of drug dealers?
.. Much of the hostility toward Putin stems from the fact that he not only defies the West, when standing up for Russia’s interests, he often succeeds in his defiance and goes unpunished and unrepentant.
.. There is another reason Putin is viewed favorably. Millions of ethnonationalists who wish to see their nations secede from the EU see him as an ally. While Putin has openly welcomed many of these movements, America’s elite do not take even a neutral stance.
Putin has read the new century better than his rivals. While the 20th century saw the world divided between a communist East and a free and democratic West, new and different struggles define the 21st.
.. The new dividing lines are between social conservatism and self-indulgent secularism, between tribalism and transnationalism, between the nation-state and the New World Order.
What Does Your Party Want?
Securing the loyalty of the millions of white working-class Americans who lined up behind Trump will require that all three wings of the Republican Party — its business faction, its ideological purists and its cultural traditionalists — abandon any idea of strict adherence to core conservative principles on fiscal and social policy.
“Just as Reagan converted the G.O.P. into a conservative party, with his victory this year, Trump has converted the G.O.P. into a populist, America First party,”
.. Trade and immigration are in my view unambiguously good for the country — but new policies on these issues will have to be done in ways that are supported by the American people, not shoved down their throats by the elites. In this regard, I am a populist. The elites in both parties have not understood Trumpism and have often been contemptuous of the intellect and lifestyle of the Trump loyalists.
.. These voters have shunned Republicans because they disagree with the party’s focus on low taxes, small government, and pro-business policies. They benefit enormously from middle-class entitlement programs; their children get what they consider to be good educations from public schools and state universities. They have no problem with redistribution so long as it is focused on either people who can’t work or people who do.
.. Where movement conservatives see many social programs and the high taxes that fund them as threats to liberty, these voters see them as giving decent, hard-working people a hand up to live decent, dignified lives. Where business conservatives see free trade or immigration as helping people and increasing growth, these voters see those policies as favoring foreigners over themselves and as just another way that their bosses try to pay them less without justification.
.. newly recruited white working-class converts to Trump’s Republican Party do not consider conservative dogma on gay rights, abortion, gender identity, or traditional marriage their priority.=
.. Bannon described the goal of the “entirely new political movement” he believes Trump is leading:
It’s everything related to jobs. The conservatives are going to go crazy. I’m the guy pushing a trillion-dollar infrastructure plan. With negative interest rates throughout the world, it’s the greatest opportunity to rebuild everything. Shipyards, ironworks, get them all jacked up. We’re just going to throw it up against the wall and see if it sticks. It will be as exciting as the 1930s, greater than the Reagan revolution — conservatives, plus populists, in an economic nationalist movement.
.. Bannon is explicit in his identification of the enemy:
The globalists gutted the American working class and created a middle class in Asia. The issue now is about Americans looking to not get f—ed over. If we deliver, we’ll get 60 percent of the white vote, and 40 percent of the black and Hispanic vote and we’ll govern for 50 years.
.. This ad was part and parcel of an election that has put some of the most vocal House Republicans, including the vaunted Freedom Caucus, on notice that defying Trump’s right-populist orientation could put their political future at risk.
.. “Trump dominated — in the primary and general elections — those districts represented by Congress’s most conservative members,” Tim Alberta wrote in National Review (he is now at Politico):
They once believed they were elected to advance a narrowly ideological agenda, but Trump’s success has given them reason to question that belief.
.. Even if they support Trump nine times of ten, voting against him once could trigger a tweetstorm or the threat of a visit to their district. It’s a chilling thought for members who know that the Republican National Committee, the National Republican Congressional Committee, and the House GOP leadership already want them gone.
Kevin McCarthy, the House majority leader, plans to make full use of Trump’s leverage to keep recalcitrant members of the Freedom Caucus in line.